Friday - Feb 22, 2019

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The Fire Sale: Believe the Hype

In my last Fire Sale, I warned to stay away from players being over-hyped by fantasy writers this summer. To show you what a hypocrite I am, I’ll now hype-up five players that you should sell your soul to get on draft day.

Before we get started, I just want to touch on something. In my last column, I put in my contact information and I received an email from a long-time reader. He said it was nice to see me back on Twitter being active again and asked what had happened to me.

Just to let you all know: I’m back. Like I did for many years, I’ll respond to all questions and comments. For years I responded to over thousands of correspondence every season but I kind of went away for a brief time as I worked on a couple of high-profile political campaigns. I didn’t want to say the wrong thing, so I stayed off Twitter.

Then one night I came to my senses. I was kissing the butt of some rich guy and a lady told him that my son had just been born. He didn’t bother congratulating me and replied, “I have three sons. Two are lawyers and the third is about to start college. He’s a disappointment though. He’s going to be an engineer.”

As I did that fake, phony laugh I looked at that guy and I thought to myself, “I hate you.” I then realized I was kidding myself. I’m a sportswriter. Maybe not a very good one, but that’s what I do.

So I’m back and as always, I’m a man of the people. I don’t sleep. I don’t have sex. I’m serious. I don’t trust that surgery that ties your tubes and I already have two kids, so I’m done forever. The only things I do are write and exercise. Since I work out at home, I’m always near my computer.

I only have one rule: When asking me a roster question I need to know your team first. If people are giving you an answer to a trade question and they don’t know your roster, you’re getting screwed. Case closed.

You can follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy. If you have fantasy questions, play DFS, gamble, like MMA or just spend every second of every day wondering how Lloyd McClendon can still possibly be managing the Seattle Mariners, give me a follow. I promise to either respond or block you. Keep it fair, keep it fair.

Now on with The Fire Sale

Jeremy Hill, RB Cincinnati – I think Hill is one of the best running backs in the NFL. We just haven’t been told to think it yet. By next season, we’ll know it.

I don’t say things like “He’s the next Adrian Peterson” because it’s ridiculous, but Hill is going to be the next great NFL runner. If you’re reluctant to draft Hill high because of Gio Bernard, don’t be. Bernard will catch some passes and give Hill a breather but it won’t impact his fantasy value. Hill is the real deal.

Over his last seven games in 2014, Hill topped 100 yards rushing four times and scored four touchdowns. He went over 145 yards three times. He received 20+ carries four times during that span.

Listen, I know he doesn’t catch a lot of passes and that bothers some people but this kid is an absolute monster. Besides, how many passes does Peterson catch? Is Eddie Lacy hauling in 60 balls a year? Hill caught 27 passes last season. He’s going to be on the field even more in 2015, so 30+ receptions are likely.

I mean Lacy is only averaging 38 receptions over his first two NFL seasons and he’s a projected top-5 fantasy pick. I know he plays with Aaron Rodgers but Hill is going 16 picks later on average. That’s some value with Hill.

Everyone has their strengths as an analyst. I follow guys on Twitter and they do stuff I couldn’t do if I live to be 100. My strengths are studying the college game and studying coaching patterns.

Established coaches rarely change the way they do things. Hue Jackson likes to ride his horse. Bernard will be a part of the Bengals’ offense but make no mistake about it, Hill is the lead dog. Hill is getting 300 carries this season is he stays healthy. Take it to the bank.

If you’re picking at the turn this year, I would be all over Hill. His current ADP of late Round 2 is absolute larceny. He’s going to rush for 1,500 yards and double-digit scores this season.

Hill will be a top-5 fantasy pick in 2016. Go ahead and write that down in permanent marker.

Ameer Abdullah, RB Detroit – Prior to the NFL Draft, I wrote a Fire Sale mentioning five players I thought would be productive as rookies regardless of where they landed. Abdullah was one and Phillip Dorsett was another.

I’m lazy and don’t want to keep repeating myself, so I’m going to copy and paste a bunch of stuff for the next two players. Here’s what I said about Abdullah back in April:

Outside of [Todd] Gurley, Abdullah may be the most talented back in this class.

Abdullah weighs 205 pounds but he runs like he’s 245. Abdullah is such a physical runner for his size I get a little worried about his health in the NFL. He got nicked up sometimes at Nebraska because he refuses to shy away from contact.

The reason I think Abdullah can fit into any system is because he can beat defenses with power, quickness or speed. The team that drafts Abdullah is going to find a role for him early in his career.

Some don’t believe Abdullah can be a feature back in the NFL but I’m not one of those people. Like I said, I hate to fault a guy for running hard and sometimes I wish Abdullah would run around a defender instead of taking him on. However, I believe Abdullah has the talent to come onto a team like Jacksonville or Tennessee and win the starting job as a rookie.

There are a lot of good running backs in this draft. I could see any one of seven guys being the top rookie back this year. Although, assuming Gurley isn’t ready to start the year, my money is on Abdullah being the top rookie running back in 2014 if I had to place a bet before the draft. I really like this kid.

Joique Bell is recovering slowly from offseason Achilles’ and knee surgeries. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said recently he’s not even sure what kind of shape Bell is going to be in when he returns and that the team plans to bring him back slowly.

Abdullah was an absolute stud at Nebraska and he’s already impressed the Lions’ coaching staff. Bell has been a good back for Detroit but I have a hunch we’ve seen the best he has to offer.

If I were a betting man I would put money on Abdullah leading the team in rushing yards and total touches from the running back position this year. As luck would have it, I just happen to be a betting man. Bet the house on Abdullah.

About Thomas Casale

Thomas began playing fantasy football back when owners had to mail in their starting lineups and work out trades over the phone. He started writing The Fire Sale in 1998. Since then his articles have appeared on numerous web sites sites including Fantasy Sharks, USA Today and SI.com.